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Green Deal Criticised by the CCC for Low Insulation Ambition

6th January 2011

The upcoming Green Deal scheme has came under fire from the government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC), accusing the scheme of a lack of effort to ensure that appropriate loft and cavity wall insulation is fitted in UK homes.

The CCC have also highlighted that the current lack of ambition shown by the government could be detrimental in the achievement of the UK’s carbon reduction targets and also on the growth of renewable heat energy.

CCC chairman Lord Adair Turner recently wrote to climate secretary Chris Huhne expressing the committee’s concern towards the scheme. Turner informed Huhne that a study by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) displayed that ‘cost effective’ energy efficiency improvements to UK housing stock between now and 2020 could prevent five million tonnes of CO2 being emitted. On the other hand, he notes that the provision of Green Deal loans and the affiliated ECO scheme is likely to only save approximately two million tonnes of CO2.

This significant gap in emissions savings will be brought on by the Green Deal scheme’s inability to provide loft and cavity wall insulation to UK homes that are currently in need.

Research from DECC has also displayed that a very small number of households with solid walls are likely to take up the Green Deal offer due to concerns of initial investment costs being too high and energy savings too low. However, cavity wall insulation can reduce CO2 from the home significantly, providing substantial reasoning for ECO to support and finance it.

Nevertheless, ECO finance for insulation has already been ruled out by DECC and instead responsibility has placed on the Green Deal to tackle the job. The department has also estimated that only 30% of UK homes requiring cavity wall insulation will be dealt with by 2020, and an even lower figure of 10% for homes requiring loft insulation.

The CCC notes that a lack of sufficiently insulated homes in the UK will directly reduce the uptake of heat pumps, as such systems are dependent on well-insulated homes. Heat pumps are to play a large part in the government’s carbon reduction strategy, although failure to install loft and cavity wall insulation in millions of homes in the UK would adversely affect their efforts.

The CCC have urged the government to re-evaluate its current plans and to instate the ECO scheme as a significant finance provider for cavity wall and loft insulation, ensuring a far greater number of homes in the UK are insulated by 2020.

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